Lamborghini Reveals What Makes The Countach An Icon

Supercars / Comments

Waxing poetic about an 802-hp, hybrid throwback supercar.

No matter what people thought of the old Lamborghini Countach, or what they think about the new one, it's undeniably an icon. It lived on bedroom walls in poster form in the '80s next to Cathy Ireland and Brooke Shields (also icons). At one of its 50th-anniversary celebrations, Lamborghini discussed the nature of the word.

All the Italian big wigs were there including Stephan Winkelmann, Chairman and CEO, along with Federico Foschini, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer, who oversees Polo Storico Lamborghini; Maurizio Reggiani, Chief Technical Officer and member of Polo Storico's Comitato dei Saggi (Wise Men Committee), and Mitja Borkert, Head of Design. It was special guest, writer and design expert Stephen Bayley, founder of the Design Museum in London, who spoke first.

Lamborghini
Lamborghini

"It is something definitive and universal, whereby definitive we mean a concept that goes beyond the passing of time and universal means that everyone likes it," said Bayley. "If we can recognize a city by the buildings that make up its skyline, for example Paris with its Eiffel Tower and the Montmartre Basilica, Florence with its Duomo and bell tower, or London with Big Ben and the towering The Shard across the Thames, then the design of those individual works is so extraordinary and so powerful that it makes those buildings different from all others."

"Their form can hardly be improved," said Bayley. "But some details can be developed, keeping the basic concept intact. This is what I think about as I look at the two Lamborghini Countachs side by side: the 1971 LP 500 and the new Countach LPI 800-4. Fifty years of history face to face and icons of their time, whose distinctive style and extraordinary performance have earned them their place in the automotive elite."

Lamborghini
Lamborghini
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That's a very artistic way to call the Countach an icon. To us, it's more like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's classic line about obscenity in a case saying "I shall not today attempt to further define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced with that shorthand description, but I know it when I see it." He was talking about pornography, but it's the same with the iconography of something like the Countach, we know it when we see it.

Maurizio Reggiani, noted Lambo enthusiast, found more interest in the mechanical side saying, "the technical formula of the LP 500, with its V12 engine in a longitudinal position at the rear and the gearbox positioned in front behind the cockpit, led to a new way of imagining super sports cars in terms of both design and performance. The vertically opening doors, which debuted on the LP 500, and the mechanical layout remained unchanged, confirming the original choice."

Lamborghini
Lamborghini

We already heard that all 112 units of the Countach LPI 800-4 were sold before they went on sale. That didn't surprise us. Besides its iconic status, the reborn Countach gets a V12 hybrid engine making 802 horsepower and 557 lb-ft of torque sent to all four wheels. It's a technical marvel certainly, even if its design is debated. The coolest thing we heard was that many of the buyers already owned the original, and "most couldn't resist the temptation to configure it the same way." A masterful two-car garage.

Lamborghini
Lamborghini

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